The fanatical dogma of Alex Jones: How the right-wing huckster has made conspiracy theories into a religion

Jones's Bundy Siege conspiracy theory is a shining example of paranoid right-wing apocalypticism

By Bob Cesca
Published January 6, 2016 7:59PM (EST)
  (Reuters/Jim Bourg)
(Reuters/Jim Bourg)

No crisis is complete until conspiracy theorist and professional radio huckster Alex Jones has offered up his incoherent take on the story. Such is the case with takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon by a gaggle of delusional self-made revolutionaries who mistakenly believe this will end well for them.

There's simply no way that whatever-this-is will escalate into a successful rebellion against the government. The use of the word "delusional" wasn't a throwaway insult, by the way; it's quite salient given how these weekend warriors, including the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, have zero chance of getting what they want, which is, ultimately, their own political sovereignty apart from the rest of us, by which they can parade around in 18th century comfort.

The bizarre twist to the fracas at Malheur Wildlife Refuge is that Alex Jones believes many of the militia members are actually government agents tasked with fabricating an excuse for President Obama to declare "soft martial law."

On Monday, Jones released a YouTube video, evidently filmed somewhere in the Phoenix desert, in which he flies off in another one of his off-the-shelf conspiracy theories about the globalist plot to... ???

Among other things, Jones blames the Oregon stand-off on Obama: "Ladies and gentlemen, don’t let Obama be successful when it comes to starting civil unrest and riots in this country." Jones continued, "They will use that as a civil emergency to bring in a type of soft martial law."

If you recall, Jones offered up the same explanation for the Jade Helm 15 military exercises -- that it was a clever tactic to slowly condition the American public to accepting the presence of the military in our streets, even though none of that played out as advertised during the exercises themselves.

Jones cites evidence "from federal court" for the existence of "federal provocateur[s]."

"Many of the militias, many of them constitutional and made up of great people, end up getting infiltrated and led in many cases by federal provocateur [sic] or even worse by foundation provocateurs like the Southern Poverty Law Center that ran Elohim City where the reported Oklahoma City bombing got hatched, which we know was an inside job. Major false flag."

Very few national tragedies are genuine, according to Jones. 9/11 was an inside job. Sandy Hook was an inside job. The Boston Marathon bombing was an inside job. Oklahoma City was an inside job. Of course, there's no evidence for any of Jones' theories, and just about every angle in his dossier on these events has been debunked by an armada of both experts and nonpartisan investigators. But in any mass casualty event, there are always unknowns -- holes in the story. And that's where Jones thrives.

The secret to all of Jones' ridiculous theories is the manipulative religion-based tactic of suggesting that "God Is In The Gaps." In this case, however, the conspiracy is in the gaps. The original religious basis for this approach declares that anything about the universe not fully understood by science can be explained by divine intervention. Simply put: Whatever can't be proved by science or, in this case, law enforcement can only be explained by a conspiracy theory. Jones is making a killing by exploiting the gaps and injecting his own theories into the empty spaces; anything to sufficiently convince his easily led disciples that nefarious globalists are methodically worming their way into society, poised to strangle our liberty.

The gap in the Oregon story is the coincidental (or is it???) timing of Bundy siege and the president's executive action on firearm background checks. Can this be explained? No? Well, then, Jones has a theory to explain it:

"All hell is breaking loose in the stock market, militarily overseas, so many issues, and the establishment is going to want a political diversion here in America and they’ve been putting out the talking points that white terrorists are going to start attacking, that white terrorists are going to be involved in insurrection."

Gap plugged!

Will the "white terrorists" admit to their affiliation with the government or the SPLC? Of course they won't. Because they're not government agents. But Jones has the documents to prove they are. In the video, Jones retreats inside to his laptop to peruse the evidence, which is merely a series of articles from his website. At one point, Jones brings up an article titled "Oregon Stand Off Could Boost Obama's Gun Control Push," then notes that he came up with this idea over the weekend. So, Jones and someone writing for Jones' website had the same cockamamie idea. And this is evidence that it's real?

Jones went on to say that George Soros (because of course) is turning Oregon into a race issue even though "it has nothing to do with race." Well, no, it actually has a lot to do with race when law enforcement takes a hands-off approach when the perps are white, but can't wait to shoot unarmed black people at the slightest provocation (or even no provocation at all). Remember that Bundy Ranch supporter who aimed his assault rifle at federal agents from atop a sniper’s perch? Was he arrested or even approached by law enforcement? Of course not.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter that Jones is wrong. For 20 years, he's been predicting two things that have never happened: The imminent end of American freedom and sovereignty, and his own assassination for exposing the globalist agenda. Neither has occurred. Nor will "soft martial law."

Ironically, the fact that Jones is often wrong and often hilariously unhinged has led other conspiracy theorists to suggest that Jones himself is a government provocateur. This is the problem with dabbling in the fantasy realm of defining the gaps: it can very easily backfire. How do we know for sure Jones isn't a government agent? He's very likely not, but what if he is? And if everyone's a government agent, or a pawn of Soros, then no one is.

But Jones is nothing if not a master at feeding his people little nuggets of reality, then spinning those realities into his nonsensical fever dreams. Did Oregon go down just before a major White House action on guns? Yes, and that's enough for Jones' true-believers to continue circulating his horseshit. An audience full of raging paranoiacs is ripe for manipulation, and Jones is exploiting them in enrich his personal wealth and fame.

The good news is that the Bundys and the Hammonds won't have Jones' full support, even though Jones' listeners overlap with supporters of the anti-government militias. That didn't stop Jones from advising the militias how to behave: "We do not want this to get physical but if it does, let them shoot first." But why would government provocateurs listen to Jones' advice? If the groups are being led by government stooges, why is Jones even bothering? Screw it. Here's me trying to make sense of Jones' authentic frontier gibberish.

Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alex Jones Bundy Siege Conspiracy Theories